Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Running Down the Universe

“Fucking hell.”

“What is it?” asked my brother.

“We ran over a fucking frog!”

“Oh crap dude, oh well.”

“What the fuck was it doing there!?”

We'd run over the back half inch of a frog, and I was pissed. I’d seen the damn thing there on the ground, but hadn’t had time to say anything to avoid it. Or had I assumed we would pass it by without harming it? Anyway the back end of the creature was squished flat and it couldn’t move. Obviously it wouldn’t survive.

“I dunno, dude.”

“Dammit! Why the hell wasn’t it somewhere else? Like an inch to the left!” Or why weren’t we an inch to the right? I wondered. “What was it doing in a goddamn parking garage anyway? Stupid frogs.”

“Chill man, it was an accident. We didn’t see it.”

“That doesn’t change anything. Why the fuck did we have to barely kill a frog? And why the hell wasn’t it either two inches to the left so it could survive, or two inches to the right so it’d be a quick death!?”

“Who are you even asking? I don’t know, man.”

“I’m asking the stupid universe. What kind of stupid place kills frogs by half an inch? It’s like it couldn’t make up its mind to totally kill it, or to spare it, so it compromised by inflicting a slow and agonizing death.”

“I'm not gonna lie man, it sucks.”

“And it’s completely pointless. I mean, all of existence is pointless, but shit like this. It doesn’t even mean anything, it just pisses me off.”

“Yeah bro, I can tell.”

“Seriously though. If there has to be some random little coincidence, why can’t it just be casual and harmless? I guess it wouldn’t be random anymore. But it’d be better. Okay I’m full of shit, if it always happened nicely things wouldn’t even be what they are, not even remotely. Which would probably end up being a bad thing.”

My brother just looked at me.

“I know man, so I was at this girls house last night and her cat totally jumped on my face. Like, why the fuck couldn’t the cat jump on something else?”

“I…” I thought I was used to his non-sequitur responses. And at least this one made some sense. “That’s a cat though. It’s an animal, I’m talking about coincidental happenings in the universe.”

“We ran over a frog.”

“Yeah, that was an accident. It wasn’t about what any one crazy animal decided to do, it was about one animal—you—happening to cross the path of another.”

Nobody said anything for a second, but my brother looked like he was thinking. He might have understood, but the look on his face didn’t say so.

I said, “Maybe it’s not even about the universe, just about modern humanity. Driving cars over everything so we can go faster and who gives a shit about the little guy.”

“Yeah dude, but I like driving fast. Except when I got that ticket, I was so pissed. So no more fast driving for me, I’m all about goin' the speed limit.”

“No offense, but you’re part of the problem. Of course, I do have a car too, so so am I. I ran over a bird once. And how stupid is running over a bird? Way dumber than running over something on the ground. But even if I could use buses to get around, that would only help a little. Humans are just so busy with all this bullshit.”

“Oh I know man, it’s like we’re the only ones and fuck you, whatever else there is. Global warming and shit.”

“Yeah, it’s really not just cars. Cell phone towers, too. Same thing, they kill all kinds of birds. So do power lines I think. And then hydroelectric dams and all kinds of other shit just does the same thing. Paves over whatever's there, bulldozes it out of the way.”

I gave a bitter laugh.

“Road construction, too.”

“Well what else are we gonna do?”

“Well, we could always eliminate ourselves. I like that idea. Good point though. Nothing else really pays attention to what it does. Stampeding cows? Lemmings?”

“Oh yeah, those things are crazy as fuck, they just run over cliffs when there’s too many and stuff like that.”

“That actually doesn’t happen much, it was a Disney film that showed that from like the sixties, I think they caught something really rare going on and misinterpreted it. Or everyone else does.”

“Oh, well it’s still crazy as hell.”

“Yeah, but you know, this is exactly what societies do, genes do it too. They start doing a certain thing, and if it doesn’t work for you then you’re fuck. Like genes get randomly mutated or maybe they have a good purpose, but they don’t have any mercy and don’t care about what’s actually best for you.”

“I’m not gonna lie, I'm really hungry.”

“Thinkin' Denny's? They've got like two vegan things but I'm not very hungry.”

“Cool. What were you saying about genes? I took genetics in high school, that was an awesome class.”

“Oh, nevermind. You're about to miss your exit.”

[based on a dream, wherein I was extremely angry about running over a frog. mostly written on Groundhog day]

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